I'm mainly active over on Cryptography.SE and as such I'm always worried about patents and alike, especially given the history of patents and cryptography which blocked certain (very useful) techniques (especially RSA, ECC and OCB) from widespread adoption for a long time.

Now before implementing potentially patented cryptographic algorithms in a library I want to make sure they're in fact not patented.

As such I'm asking (basically) the same question I asked for coverage on Cryptography.SE:
Are questions of the type "Is X covered by patents" on Patents.SE?


  • The question may extend to "... and for how long is it going to be covered?"
  • This question is mainly about the "is X covered" part.

Example questions:with helpful information for non-cryptography related people

  • "Is the cryptographic mode of operation OCB still fully covered by patents (which parts, which not)?" (there was some rumour about patents not being continued last year)
  • "Is the cryptographic mode of operation McOE covered by any patent?"
  • "Is / Was the AES-to-tweakable-block-cipher construction (in sole use) covered by OCB patents?" (OCB can be seen as a high-level mode and a low-level way to make standard cryptographic tools fit, is / was the low-level tool covered by any patents?)
  • "Is the Encrypt-Mix-Encrypt mode of operation still covered by patents and for how long will it be?" (there was a statement without exact reference that this mode is covered, this would ask for the details)

Note: This question is intended much more general than just cryptographic tools and methods, it just happens that I only know of such example questions (and they should cover most cases this question is about).

  • There's a lack of an "allowed-questions" tag and I can't create it because I only have 101 / 150 required rep :/
    – SEJPM
    Sep 10, 2016 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


I would probably say no, unfortunately, those aren't acceptable.

We'd definitely be able to help with a question like:

Does [patent number and/or claim] cover [specific implementation]?

But patent searches are a complex thing, and it's something to take relatively seriously, if you are actually intending to do it (which is a question worth asking).

If I were you, I'd speak with a patent professional to talk about whether a search is right for you. It's a pretty polarizing issue.

Outside of that, we've got a question on the main site that should help: How can I perform a global patent search for free?

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .